Trilogy Triathlon club in Portlaoise, Laois
Leinster Express reporter Lynda Kiernan is among the 350 taking to the Portlaoise streets tomorrow April 8.
Portlaoise streets will be flooded with 350 eager triathletes this sunny Saturday morning April 8, for the tenth annual TriLaois, hosted by Trilogy Triathlon Club.
This nervous reporter will be among them, sporting a Trilogy trisuit kindly loaned by the organisers, and a proper racing bike, also kindly loaned from a friend, after my old mountain bike hybrid let me down.
After two months of almost training solo, the practice run that Trilogy invited me on last weekend, was a sharp wake-up call that there are good reasons for joining a training group.
I trained on my own because it suited my work and parenting schedule, as well as preferring to go at my own pace and trying to avoid an extra cost, as triathlons and the gear that goes with them are not cheap.
What I lost out on was learning the intensity of training needed, the many expert tips and group support, and adjusting to training in a group.
Swimming in a pack was hard, but the biggest problem hit when I collected my bike outside.
The gears would not change, I don't know why, but it made the cycle a nightmare, as i was in a painfully low gear the whole way.
Everyone on the practice run was shouting words of encouragement as they flew past my pathetic self struggling up the hills. I was cycling while in tears, angry at myself for not being better equipped.
The rain hit hard too, and so by the time I got back and dismounted to run, my feet were wet and numb, and a three mile run was never so hard to do. I kept putting one foot in front of another, and while I had by far the slowest time on the day, I finished it.
After a few days of self pity, and a good practice on my replacement bike, I am feeling good about tomorrow.
I am switching to my favourite old Asics to run, feck the socks, the gloves, the drying off, the jacket, I'm going to dash through transitions, knock back energy drinks and go for it. I don't mind if I am last again, as long as I know I've done my best.
A big thanks to Catherine and Albert from Laois Sports Partnership and Trilogy, and to my fellow athletes for their support, and a huge shout of good luck to all the competitors coming to Portlaoise in the early hours tomorrow, especially my Mountmellick friends!
We are all winners! And there's always a lovely medal and a goody bag waiting for us all!
TriLaois comprises a 400m or 750m swim, a 20km cycle and a 5km run, based at Portlaoise Leisure Centre, from 8am to 2pm on Saturday April 8. Local drivers are asked to have patience as the athletes pass, and to please follow the directions of Gardaí and event marshalls, with co-operation greatly appreciated.